Updated 11/5/2014: This ballot measure PASSED with 69.56% of the vote. Read a round-up of all 2014 election results here.
This November, Alameda County voters will face a big decision: whether to approve Measure BB, the proposed extension and increase of Alameda County’s transportation funding measure. The $7.8 billion plan would be the largest transportation funding measure ever in northern California. If passed, the Measure BB would increase the transportation sales tax from 0.5% to 1% and extend it for another 30 years. TransForm will urge a “yes” vote.
This plan is very similar to the Measure B1 that barely missed passage in 2012, gaining 66.53% of the vote, just over 700 votes shy of the required two-thirds threshold. TransForm supported the 2012 measure.
Since the last vote, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) has made a good plan even better. Most importantly, the 2014 plan has a 30-year sunset, while the 2012 tax would have continued in perpetuity. That perpetuity clause was unpopular with some voters and with good-government advocates such as the League of Women Voters. For details on that change and other improvements since the 2012 measures, see TransForm’s detailed analysis of the 2014 measure.
If it passes, Measure BB would fund numerous important improvements:
- restore cut bus service
- start a new youth bus pass program
- repair potholes
- help maintain BART’s existing system
- make unprecedented investments for pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure (including complete streets requirements for every city and the county)
- invest in transit-oriented development
For policy wonks who really want to dig into all the details, you can download the full 44-page spending plan document, including all the project descriptions, from ACTC’s website.
As in 2012, we have some remaining concerns, the biggest of which involves the proposed BART to Livermore project. By leaving a large funding gap to build this incredibly expensive project, it could divert future funding away from fixing BART and place even more burdens on an already-stressed system. But even this concern has lessened over the past two years. TransForm’s Save BART! campaign has made major strides in getting BART to recognize it needs to protect its existing system and to fully investigate more flexible alternatives before committing to any specific project for Livermore.
While the final plan is not perfect, Measure BB is better than the 2012 plan and deserves TransForm’s support. This measure supports TransForm's strategy to shape and support key funding measures.
TransForm plans to devote significant staff time to supporting the Yes on BB campaign.